‘They Killed the Dreamer, But They Have Not Killed the Dream’

The Washington Post Sunday - - D.c. Sunday - By Hamil R. Har­ris

Nei­ther chilly winds nor a few snowflakes up­staged the mil­i­tary honor guards, high school march­ing bands and politi­cians who par­tic­i­pated in the an­nual Martin Luther King Jr. Pa­rade yes­ter­day in South­east Wash­ing­ton.

Wear­ing a top­coat and fe­dora, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty ( D) walked much of the route, shak­ing hands.

D. C. Coun­cil mem­ber Mar­ion Barry ( D-Ward 8), sport­ing a cow­boy hat, rode on horse­back. “ This pa­rade is the great- est ever,” Barry said as he han­dled the reins.

The pa­rade was first or­ga­nized in 1979 to pro­mote a na­tional ef­fort to per­suade Congress to des­ig­nate King’s birth­day, Jan. 15, as a hol­i­day. Last year, af­ter an ef­fort pro­moted by Barry, the event was shifted from Jan­uary to April in hopes of bet­ter weather.

The Dis­trict’s del­e­gate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Nor­ton ( D), and the Rev. Wal­ter Faun­troy, a for­mer del­e­gate, walked the en­tire route. Both are vet­er­ans of the civil rights move­ment and were as­so­ciates of King, who was as­sas- sinated April 4, 1968.

Nor­ton said, “ We can cel­e­brate King’s birth­day ev­ery day of the week; we don’t have to do it in the cold of win­ter.”

Faun­troy agreed that the event is an en­dur­ing trib­ute. “ To have this mes­sage ev­ery year around the fourth of April lets us know that they killed the dreamer, but they have not killed the dream,” he said.

Mary Jones, 65, took her 3- year- old great- grand­son to the march, say­ing that she would have taken him no mat­ter when the event was held. “ Dr. King made a lot of things pos­si­ble for us,” she said.


D.C. Coun­cil mem­ber Mar­ion Barry rides in the event, which he cam­paigned to have moved from Jan­uary to April in hopes of warmer weather.

At left, Karl Lewis, 11, dashes back to the side­lines af­ter catch­ing beads tossed from cars dur­ing the an­nual Martin Luther King Jr. Pa­rade. Be­low, Marie Ballard watches as an honor guard passes her house in South­east on the un­sea­son­ably chilly day.

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